On Friday the 31st October ghosts and ghouls took to the roads of Broadmead on their bicycles as part of the international movement of Critical Mass.


Critical Mass originally started back in 1992 in San Francisco.  It began as a social movement of just a couple of a dozen people but soon grew to over 1000 people who met every month to regain their rights to the road.  Since then, the movement has grown far and wide and now takes place in over 300 Cities worldwide including our very own Bristol.


There is some debate about the aims of critical mass with some asserting that it is a form of protest whilst others maintain that that it is purely an opportunity for like minded people to get together, enjoy a bike ride whilst promoting cycling.  It seemed that speaking to other fellow cyclists at this event that most were there to enjoy the ride.  One cyclist, a second year student at UWE, Paul Saville, told me, “It‘s a fun, effective way of reducing traffic in the City Centre.”


There was a good atmosphere at the beginning of the event, everyone was in high spirits and soon the numbers swelled to around 50 cyclists.  Some had taken the time to attach pumpkins and flashing skulls to their bikes whilst others wore ghoulishly scary costumes for this special Halloween themed critical mass. 


It has been known in past critical mass rides for there to be some trouble, as not all motorists are happy to get stuck behind a group of cyclists on a Friday afternoon, during rush hour ,whilst they try to get home from work.  However, this ride went reasonably smoothly as whilst a few motorists made it clear they were not in support of the ride there were equally as many honks and shouts of support from passers by. 


The route took the cyclists around the centre of Broadmead, up the Gloucester road and one memorable moment through the newly built Cabot Circus.    Critical Mass will continue to take place on the last Friday of every month, meeting by the sails, opposite the Hippodrome next to the fountains.